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Gift Tree program receives boost from Anstaett Gift Tree Fund

by kwindus
Tue, Dec 7th 2021 08:45 am
CRCF Board President Skip Wilday (far left) meets with the Gift Tree committee at the new gift distribution location at Creekside Chapel. Pictured (from l-r) are Katie Wilkinson (board member), Danielle Kielar (board member), Megan Moretz (Gift Tree committee member), Julie Hall (Executive Director) Erica Dreher (committee), Ann Marie Sitter Tompkins (committee) and Dann Deckman-Hadden (committee).
CRCF Board President Skip Wilday (far left) meets with the Gift Tree committee at the new gift distribution location at Creekside Chapel. Pictured (from l-r) are Katie Wilkinson (board member), Danielle Kielar (board member), Megan Moretz (Gift Tree committee member), Julie Hall (Executive Director) Erica Dreher (committee), Ann Marie Sitter Tompkins (committee) and Dann Deckman-Hadden (committee).

A $1,737 grant from the Carroll and Dolores Anstaett Gift Tree fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation will again help the Gift Tree program, administered by Interfaith Caregivers, ensure that underprivileged families in Cattaraugus County will wake to presents under the tree on Christmas morning.

 Each year, the Gift Tree program connects families in need with community members through a listing in the Olean Times Herald, which allows individuals and families in the community to adopt and then shop for a family.

According to Julie Hall, Interfaith Caregivers executive director, 76 families were adopted from the Gift Tree list published in the Olean Times Herald.

Since that initial list though 10 additional families were adopted.

The grant from the Carroll and Dolores Anstaett Gift Tree Fund allows the Gift Tree program administrators and volunteers to purchase gift cards from the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce that are then distributed to adopted families. The gift cards, Hall said, allow the program to provide that “little extra” for the families.

“By using those monies to purchase GOACC certificates it also helps the local participating merchants,” she added. “It's a big win all the way around.”

The Anstaett Gift Tree Fund at CRCF has provided annual support to the Gift Tree program, a program loved by Dolores Anstaett and her late husband, Carroll Anstaett, since it was established in 2004. In the 17 years since, the Gift Tree program has been a reliable source of support for the program, distributing over $31,880 in grants.

In her first year administering the program as Interfaith Caregivers Executive Director, Hall said that the agency has made some changes to the program to hopefully help the program effectively direct its efforts in the coming years.

“A committee was formed in August to revisit how the Gift Tree program is facilitated,” said Hall. “For the first time, financial criteria was established as a first step in selecting families.

“An application was used for the first time in order that the committee could begin a baseline data set of who is receiving from the Gift Tree program and demographic data will be utilized moving forward to set goals and priority areas for future years,” Hall added.

Gift donations for the Gift Tree program can be dropped off this Thursday, December 9, or Friday, December 10, at Creekside Chapel in Allegany anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Families or family designees can pick up gifts on Friday, December 10, at the same location, between 10 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. as well.

Programs like Gift Tree serve an important purpose for families in need during the holiday season, said CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit.

“For families that may not have the means to provide gifts to their children during the holidays, programs like Gift Tree are a savior,” said Buchheit. “Our community is blessed to have thoughtful donors like the Anstaetts and so many others that provide for such programs.”

The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is the area’s supportive, responsive and trusted community foundation. Established in 1994, CRCF is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email [email protected], or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).